SO I went out to lunch to plan the week with one of the teams I work with. We located a coffee shop with wifi and staked out a booth to spread out our curriculum, books, computers, and lunches and began the work we do all the time. But today was different. We were in a public place and we begin to hear comments.
"What are they doing?"
"They are teachers getting ready for the week."
"Oh my G--, I had no idea that was so involved."
I realized then John Q Public really has no idea what is going on in our classrooms or what is involved in the job of teaching. We have to know our curriculum, where our students are in the learning process and decipher what they need next. When children are failing we have to figure out how to reteach them so they learn it.
In four hours we had a plan to create rotating groups for the week, re-mediate children who had fallen behind, teach responsively, provide memory scaffolding, review and test on the curriculum for science and math. The people around us were surprised and I hope a little impressed. They should be! Effective teaching is awesome and so is this team of teachers.
Two things have occurred to me. The first, I have put in more than 50 hours this week on my work. The kids are worth it but I am going to need to begin to limit myself to 50 hours or less. The other thing I realized is Nashville and other school districts could really benefit from a 'Teach IN'!
I just came up with the idea today. I would like for every teacher to select one Sunday afternoon on the calendar and go out to lunch to plan with colleagues. Regardless of your political stripe or professional affiliation, this is something that all of us can do easily. It will give the non-teachers in our communities an inkling of what we do and why we do it. We teach for the benefit of the children of our city. We are bright, capable, dedicated professionals. The rhetoric of 'bad teachers' is light years from the reality. Educating the people we help could help turn the tide to save our public schools. We just need to pick a day and spread the word. Thoughts?